Saturday, May 26, 2007

Time Away

I'm back. Italy was a refreshing break from all the hoopla around the Yankees, but I find upon my return that the team hasn't accomplished much. The loss today has the team teetering on 11.5 back, pending the results of the Red Sox game. The wild card is also a longshot as things stand with the team 7.5 back. Steinbrenner is chirping and Brian Cashman is going to get fired.

I don't believe that this team will make the playoffs this year. I really don't. What was once fueled a bit by passion and frustration is now a bit more of a cool and rational analysis of the hole we're in. This group has not shown any life and it's becoming more unreasonable to think that the Bombers will be able to make up 11-12-13-15-20 game deficits against a very good Red Sox club. The wild card is something to shoot for, but the Detroit/Cleveland duo has been more dynamic and sports a far more tension-filled and bubbling back and forth that should keep both clubs motivated through the stretch.

I won't give up just yet, but my mind is half on next year. What has to happen?

Whether or not we make the playoffs there have to be changes. The same bunch of players cannot keep coming back with the lack of performance we've seen. The first move may come this year with Giambi being looked at by the Angels. He's had his moments with the Yankees, but Cashman should unload him while he can. Giambi is a DH-only player who sucks a giant chunk of our payroll. He's deteriorating physically and doesn't really hit. Get rid of him now if you can. Yes, I mean today. No bad feelings, but it's time.

That brings the 1B/DH spot into question. Minky is a stop gap. He is playing well now, but he doesn't have much time left. We may be able to get away with another season out of him, if we fill the DH slot with someone less expensive. We can actually make the bench stronger by making a DH platoon of some kind.

Goodbye to Abreu. He may put up his numbers at the end of the year, and he may have several more seasons of .300/.400/.500 left in him, but at what cost are we willing to find out? There are better outfield options out there for the Yankees. Ichiro is just one of those options. I know that Ichiro is overrated in some respects. His OBP is virtually a mirror of his batting average. The thing is, the Yankees have been able to get on base, but far too often runners are left out there for a lack of the RBI hit. I know our offense is a 900 run powerhouse, but there are times when we've seen the club fail in stretches. Score 20 one game, but go a week without reaching 4 runs in a game. Ichiro would bring some consistent hitting the top of the order.

The pitching is less a problem than it has looked so far. The talent is there, but the age is a factor. Mussina is on board for next season, and we can probably get Pettitte back. Wang is not a question. Hughes will be up to stay. That leaves us with a 5th slot to fill. Pavano is toast. Igawa is a possibility, although far from the most attractive one. Joba Chamberlain, Kennedy, and the rest are still a season or two away. It may be time to make a giant splash of some kind. Zambrano, if we can get him. A trade for Johan Santana? Cash's tenure in the Bronx may depend on some kind of bold move like that.

Anyway, there's more time to go over all this, and we're not dead yet. It's time to start thinking though because things are broke. Trade Giambi now, and shake things up. The rest will follow.

4 comments:

eltonic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mattymatty said...

You think the Twins are just going to trade you Johan Santana? If you have Santana you don't have Hughes, so you've still got a hole in the rotation.

And what would the Angels possibly want with Giambi? To get rid of him you'd have to pay almost all of his contract, so you may as well keep the guy.

I think the key to the Yankees is getting a top of the rotation starter. As good as Wang can be, he isn't a number one guy. Nobody the Yankees have in the rotation now is a number one guy over the course of the whole season. If they can somehow get their paws on a really good starting pitcher, then they don't need to change much.

Oh, and one more thing. Ichiro is a very streaky hitter, so he won't bring consistency to the top of the order. But the Yankees already have the best lead off hitter in baseball in Jeter. Seriously, is there a better one? If you got Ichiro you'd have to move Damon to left, and then he loses a lot of his value.

Mike Plugh said...

matty...

I don't think the Twins are going to just trade Santana like that, but they are going to trade him. They'll lose him after next season if they don't. The Yankees can acquire him if they do things right, but no one can expect that Hughes, Homer Bailey, Yovani Gallardo, etc....would be on the market at any price. We have something they want.....Wang maybe?

The Angels don't want Giambi at this moment, but they did have interest and could again if he gets hot. That division is up for grabs and a hot Giambi could tip it in their favor. It's a wait and see.

Ichiro would play right for the Yankees as he once did in Seattle. He likes it over there better. Damon would stay in center. Also, I don't think Ichiro is as streaky as you say. He starts slow in April sometimes, but he rolls thereafter and is now on a 20 game hitting streak. Jeter is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, but he won't play there in a Joe Torre world. Ichiro in front of him would be goofy. I'd actually consider hitting Jetes 3rd to drive in more runs.

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